By Rodger M. Wood
Rome Braves pitching coach Derrick Lewis is blessed with the responsibility for not only one but two #1 draft pick pitchers this season at the Atlanta Braves Low –A SALLY affiliate.
With a 4-4 W-L record, 3.28 ERA in 71.1 IP in this his first full professional season, Atlanta Braves 2012 #1 (21st overall) Snelville HS RHP Lucas Sims is showing positive results from Lewis’ savvy pitching instruction.
Although 2013 #1 (31st overall) 21-year RHP Jason Hursh is just getting started with his professional career, Lewis has gotten him showing some encouraging signs throwing his 91-96 fast ball past 7 batters in just 6.2 IP in 3 starts.
Coming off Tommy John surgery in 2012, Hurst just has to polish his secondary pitches under Lewis to become a bonafide major league prospect.
It was a pleasure seeing my old friends Rome manager, Randy Ingle, who I have known since he played at AAA-Richmond in 1986, and hitting coach Bobby Moore, who I first met when I shot his picture at Richmond in 1992.
I missed seeing pitching coach Derrick Lewis, as he was on paternity leave celebrating the birth of his first baby girl. I have known Derrick since he was a young pitcher in the Carolina League at Macon in 1998.
The three of them are a class act – I always enjoy seeing my old friends.
Rome also has a number of other prospects in their lineup: 2013 #8 round draft pick OF Kyle Wren, who is hitting 333 BA, 1 HR, and 6 RBI with 16 hits in 48 AB, RHP Maurico Cabrera, Baseball America’s #6 Braves top minor league prospect, shortstop Jose Peraza, BA #10, BA #19 C Josh Elander, who is crushing the ball with 11 HR, 61 RBI, 318 BA, and BA prospect #21, 3B Carlos Franco.